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The HERO on the ballot gets some run today by the Chron E-Board. Here is how it ends:

Just a week ago it seemed like the mayor’s race would be about potholes and pensions, with the city’s revenue cap as the most likely referendum item. Now we’re back to refighting an issue that’s dogged local politics for decades. It is time to finally put it to sleep, and if punching a ballot is the only way to show that Houston is a place that doesn’t discriminate, then let the block-walking begin.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Equal-rights-and-true-liberty-6411109.php.

Some folks think the HERO vote should be the most important item on the ballot this November. Some folks might think the possibility of losing the Super Bowl is paramount. Other folks might think city finances are a priority. Some might think picking the next mayor should be at the top of the list. And others might think the county bonds are the most important. Some might think the constitutional amendments should be our main focus. How about infrastructure? Everyone has their own priority and we have to respect that. Pick your poison.

Evan Gattis is tied for third in MLB with seven triples. Name the player with the most triples?

The county wants us to vote this November on $848 million in bonds. I wonder how much of the bond money is earmarked for within H-Town? Does that matter? Of course it does.

The lead story on the front page of today’s Chron is about another plan to save the Astrodome. Ok.

Lisa Falkenberg writes today about the editorial cartoon in the Chron this past Sunday that depicted Sandra Bland’s funeral hearse getting pulled over by a trooper. I saw the cartoon and never gave it a second thought. Apparently a lot of folks were offended. I get their point. Some folks wrote letters to the Chron today. The cartoonist also responded. Go check out the Chron.

Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays leads MLB with 10 triples of course.

24,031 showed up at The Yard last night to see the ‘Stros win one and regain a share of first place with the Angels. We scored ten runs including dingers by Correa and Carter and Gattis’ three bagger. Tonight is Dollar Dog night so I expect a bigger crowd. 101 games and we are tied for first.

Police Presence

Commentary is thinking if the HERO is on the ballot this November, altering the Rev Cap might be a little more difficult. The thinking is the HERO item will bring a bit more social conservatives to the polls who are not inclined to alter the Cap. That’s what I’m thinking. Same goes for altering term limits.

According to MLB.com, Jeff Bagwell is an early favorite to be part of the 2016 Hall of Fame Class. What was Bagwell’s career batting average?

I wonder if the following will have an impact. I am talking about giving HPD officers bonuses for living in high crime areas in the city. This is part of a front page story from today’s Chron:

Officers who agree to reside in 10 of the city’s police districts with the most frequent calls for service would receive three years of bonuses, according to mayoral spokeswoman Janice Evans.

A draft version of the plan heads to the city’s public safety committee Tuesday.

Officials hope it will deter crime and build goodwill in a city where less than half the force calls home.

“It would make people here more comfortable,” said LaTonia White, who works at the community center abutting the church. “It would just help to see a familiar face. And for police, they could see firsthand what goes on here rather than just acting on an assumption that ‘oh, that must be what happens in Sunnyside.’ Unless you live here, you really don’t know.”

The plan, Evans said, would offer 50 officers up to $12,000 to live in districts largely selected because of high call volume – ranging from Sharpstown to the area around Hobby Airport.

The first-year bonus would then step down to a maximum of $8,000 the next year and up to $5,000 the year after. Eventually, 200 officers could receive bonuses for either relocating or already living in those neighborhoods.

“We think it’s important to have as many of our municipal workers actually live in the city as possible,” Mayor Annise Parker said. “It can be particularly important to have the presence of police in neighborhoods with high crime.”

Here is the entire story from behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-would-pay-officers-to-live-in-high-crime-6408898.php.

I am not going to be critical. I don’t know if it will deter crime. You might as well give it a try.

Jeff Bagwell of course has a .297 career batting average.

Taylor Swift thinks the ‘Stros are a legitimate playoff contender. She’s moving her concert at The Yard from October to September. Nice move.

She must have looked at the schedule and saw that we had 62 games left including 9 with the Angels, 3 with the Yankees, 3 with the Dodgers, and 2 with the Giants.

Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and now Shane Victorino visit The Yard this evening.

I thought Craig Biggio gave a great acceptance speech yesterday. It was great because he thanked a number of people who helped him get to Cooperstown – teammates, coaches, clergy, friends, family, owners, clubhouse folks, and his wife Patty. He also thanked the game itself.

I am more than A-OK that Craig Biggio will wear forever in the Hall of Fame the lid from the brick red days that made its debut when The Yard opened in 2000. He wore it the night in June of 2007 when he got his 3,000th base hit and he wore it the last eight seasons of his career. I will wear that lid to every game I make it to this homie in honor of Criag Biggio.

Pammy approved that now Hall of Fame lid. Nice choice!

Biggio is the first Hall of Fame great to be inducted wearing ‘Stros gear. Name the seven Hall of Fame greats who at one time wore H-Town gear as a player?

After the HERO got shot down by the Texas Supremes last Friday, this was put out:

Sylvester Turner issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by the Texas Supreme Court that suspended enforcement of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO):

“I support the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and am confident that voters will uphold the ordinance. Houston is strongest when we work hard, work together, respect each other’s differences and always put the good of the community first.” – Sylvester Turner

I don’t think so. I really don’t think either side is going to show a whole lot of respect for the other. That’s not going to happen. Not when the potential focal point of the debate is going to be bathrooms.

Heck, the name calling already started. This is going to be a very heated campaign. The local political insiders now want to know if the HERO campaign is going to dominate the political landscape for the next three months or so.

Way to go to the folks who shut down I-10 close to Downtown this past weekend. That was one big cluster___k ya’ll created.

I have to give a shout out to Carlos Duarte and his very professional crew over at Mi Famila Vota in preparing for the Emerging Latino Leaders event over at Rice University in September. Bill King was over there this past Friday for a well conducted interview and twitter chat.

Hall of Fame greats Nellie Fox, Randy Johnson, Eddie Mathews, Joe Morgan, Robin Roberts, Nolan Ryan, and Don Sutton of course all wore H-Town gear as a player during their careers.

The Royals also got a bit better yesterday.

Can ‘Stros baseball get any better? We trail the Angels by one and they are at The Yard for three starting tomorrow evening! Talk about a key series! Be there!

HFD’s Turn

Commentary doesn’t think the Chron E-Board approves of how the current administration runs HPD and HFD. In recent months the E-Board has called out how the Police Department has been run. Today they put the wood to the Fire Department. Here is how it ends:

Houston needs political leaders who are willing to take a 360-degree look at our fire department and insist that taxpayer dollars only be spent promoting smart strategies. That’s the report we’re waiting to read next.

Ouch!

Check out the entire E-Board take here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/HFD-report-still-leaves-us-wanting-6402455.php.

HPD and HFD are two or the largest City departments. What the E-Board thinks is one thing, what the voters think is another. What does that say?

Craig Biggio gets inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend. He played his last game on September 30, 2007. Who did we play that day?

Go get a hard copy of the Chron so you can get your twelve page Biggio commemorative section.

Filling out candidate questionnaires is time consuming. Do they really need to be that long though?

Another week, another mass shooting. Only in America.

I think I will pull an Erica Grieder and not say much about Trump other than to say keep on trumping.

Craig Biggio’s last game was against The ATL of course.

Baseball is back. We made a trade yesterday that brought us Scott Kazmir from the A’s and that made us a bit better.

Then we swept the Red Sox last night on a Jose Altuve walk-off dinger.

30,000 plus showed up last night. We have won five of our last six and are now just a game behind. We are in KC for the weekend and the Royals have the best record in the AL.

Here is the headline from today’s lead Chron editorial:

Fighting inequity
Structural problems at City Hall help well-off neighborhoods and hurt everyone else.

In going over this campaign season’s questionnaires and attending meetings, forums, and candidate screenings, there appears to be a concern that H-Town is becoming more of a city of “haves” and “have-nots.” Some folks don’t like the Rebuild H-Town formula for prioritizing projects. Some think “Worst First” discriminates against low-income neighborhoods. Some feel the well-off neighborhoods get the love from H-Town City Hall and some feel the low-income neighborhoods get neglected by City Hall. I am hearing this from trade groups, civic clubs, and grass roots groups.

Here is how today’s editorial ends:

The upscale neighborhoods get nice things, the poor get moved out of the way, and everybody else gets bad streets. If we want to change this, City Council members will need to start fighting.

Bill King is the only H-Town mayoral candidate who is talking about this and has probably upset a bunch of folks. Some folks in H-Town don’t like things being shaken up.

Here is the entire editorial: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Fighting-inequity-6400511.php.

Craig Biggio was our leadoff batter for all four of our World Serious games back in 2005. Who batted second?

The Trump media mega-machine goes to Laredo today. Once again he’s sucking up all the GOP press coverage. Meanwhile, the other GOP candidates struggle to get attention. Expect to see and hear Trump punk Rick Perry in his own backyard. In a way Perry is getting his. Perry was one the first to stir up the border security issue and now he’s getting trumped by it.

Commentary is hearing that the U Visa Program is going to be a topic at H-Town City Hall in the near future. Now that is interesting and probably necessary.

Are you following @VoteHOU?

Willie Taveras of course batted second behind Biggio in the 2005 World Serious.

31,000 plus turned out last night and a bunch scarfed down Dollar Dogs. We have won four of five since the All Star break and are still two out. We are 53-43 and continue to lead MLB with 132 team dingers.

Yesterday I put out the Chron’s horserace piece on the H-Town Mayor’s campaign. Yesterday was about getting the GLBT endorsement. Other horserace takes include who’s running, who’s raising the most dough – you get the picture.

Maybe the Chron will get around to actually covering the horse. Some of the candidates are staking out positions and letting voters know what kind of mayor they want to be. Let’s see if the record matches the rhetoric.

Most have had careers in public service. How and what did they do? I think it is time for this discussion.

Everybody knows that Craig Biggio played from 1988-2007. What year did he become our regular starting second baseman?

On the Sandra Bland death in Waller County, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg says this:

When was the last time you were stopped for failing to turn on the blinker while changing lanes?

If you’re white, chances are never. If your skin has a bit more pigment, you may have a different answer. You may have not-so-fond memories of “routine” traffic stops that really aren’t routine.

I’ve encountered a few jerks in law enforcement but mostly, good, mature cops who handled themselves professionally. So I used to have a hard time believing police officers would waste their time and our tax dollars stopping people for minor infractions until I saw it with my own eyes and heard firsthand accounts from friends and relatives of color.

A black friend was stopped for a dim license plate light, and another time on an East Texas highway for following me too closely. My Mexican-American brother-in-law had his van stopped, searched and partially disassembled in Alabama because the officer told him the tint looked too dark. During the search, the officer said the vehicle looked too nice to be his. My husband, who is South Asian, was stopped for speeding in my home county, Guadalupe, as we drove to a friend’s wedding. We tried to explain to the state trooper that the speedometer was broken, but he quickly ordered my husband out of the car to investigate another claim: whether we were really married.

And:

To get there, we have to go back to the beginning. Bland’s arrest didn’t stem from some serious threat to public safety. It started with a blinker.

Commentary has been Latino forever. When it comes to skin pigmentation I got my Mom’s genes and not my Dad’s so I have never had those lousy experiences but I know friends who have.

I don’t think the trooper involved should be a trooper.

Memo to Rick Perry. You are not going to win an argument with Trump. Here is what Rick Perry said about Trump: “I am going to stand up to him, just like I would stand up to Vladimir Putin.”

What? Putin controls a nuclear arsenal, Trump can’t even control his piehole.

Biggio became our regular starting second baseman in 1992 of course.

It was good to see close to 27,000 show up at The Yard on a Tuesday evening. We won but are still two behind.

Sign Me Up!

Trump in the headlines is always helpful to Dems. Keep on trumping. Who is next on the insult list?

The struggling Red Sox are in town for three. Name the Red Sox player with the highest batting average on the team?

Is Rep. Sylvester Turner the favorite to win the GLBT endorsement for H-Town Mayor after signing up a bunch of folks? He is playing by the rules. We will see on August 8. Check out Rebecca Elliott’s piece today from the Chron:

Houston’s mayoral candidates are angling for the GLBT Caucus’ coveted support, with state Rep. Sylvester Turner’s campaign purchasing dozens of memberships and others urging supporters to sign up ahead of the group’s August endorsement meeting.

In the last month, caucus membership jumped by about 200 people, from 325 to 525, leaving some longtime members, particularly supporters of former congressman Chris Bell, concerned that this year’s endorsement already may have been bought.

Caucus President Maverick Welsh, however, said the campaigns’ efforts will not be enough to tip the scales.

“We know campaigns actively try to push as many people into the room as possible, and that’s why we’ve strategically tried to grow our membership over the last year and a half,” Welsh said. “I don’t think any candidate has enough members to be able to buy an endorsement.”

The group was formed in 1975, in an effort to provide support for gay-friendly candidates. Spurned in its early days by candidates seeking elected office, the GLBT Caucus endorsement now is highly sought-after in citywide races, its nod having become a stamp of approval for the city’s progressive voters. As a result, campaigns often push people to sign up in an effort to accrue more votes on endorsement day.

Former congressman Chris Bell has been actively encouraging supporters to join and show up for the August meeting, while City Councilman Stephen Costello has pursued what his campaign described as a “low-key effort” to get people to join the caucus’ ranks.

Turner, on the other hand, opted to write the group a $3,040 check two weeks ago – enough for at least 76 memberships, according to spokeswoman Sue Davis.

“It’s something that’s done every year,” Davis said.

All three candidates, as well as former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, are seen as contenders for the caucus endorsement.

However, the scale of Turner’s purchase has garnered attention within the group’s ranks, and caused some in Bell’s camp to worry.

“It’s insulting to the caucus, I think,” said member David Arpin, a Bell supporter. “What does that say about the organization’s endorsement, if the organization’s endorsement is basically worth as much as you’ll pay?”

The issue is particularly acute for Bell, a longtime ally of the gay community – one of the few that consistently votes in Houston’s municipal races – as he currently has less money in the bank than any of the top-tier candidates.

“If he doesn’t get the endorsement, that may cause a reassessment of his campaign,” said Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston.

The group’s backing is less crucial, but still important, for Turner, who already has a sizable base of support, Murray said, noting that Garcia least needs the endorsement.

Former caucus president Noel Freeman, a Costello supporter, said campaigns also purchased or sponsored memberships during his tenure, though not enough to sway the outcome of the endorsement process.

“I never saw an endorsement vote that was so close that (it) would have made a difference,” he said, adding that he never saw a campaign purchase more than 45 memberships during his tenure from 2011 to 2013.

Welsh, who expects the caucus to send its endorsement card to upwards of 41,000 households, played down the idea that the campaigns’ efforts would swing the vote, but said the uptick in membership is a good thing.

“It’s kind of nice to be in the position of being the belle of the ball for once,” he said.

Former caucus president and Turner supporter Kris Banks agreed.

“I think everyone signing everyone up is just to kind of keep up with everyone else,” Banks said. “I think the members are going to decide for themselves.”

I just hope the folks that got signed up believe in the cause. I wonder if Rep. Turner signed up folks for Tejano Dems?

I am flabbergasted why they go through these exercises knowing full well that it will never become law. Immigrant bashing just guarantees the Latino vote for Dems. Here is from CNN:

The immigration debate, which has roiled the Republican 2016 presidential field, is coming to the House of Representatives this week.

House GOP leaders have scheduled a vote on legislation that withholds federal money for states or local governments that have policies that prohibit federal officials from enforcing immigration laws.

After Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman, made controversial comments about the danger posed by Mexican immigrants in announcing his candidacy other GOP candidates have been pressed about their own positions on how they would reform immigration laws.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts of course leads the Red Sox in hitting with a .309 batting average.

We have won two out of three but have fallen two games behind. We can’t let down against the Red Sox who are on a five game losing streak.

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